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Hassan Blasim

Hassan Blasim - foto Katja Bohm
Hassan Blasim - foto Katja Bohm

(1973, Baghdad) was named "perhaps the greatest living writer of Arabic fiction" by The Guardian in 2010. Both his debut, The Madman of Freedom Square, as well the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize winner The Iraqi Christ comprise stories of war, migration and refugee trauma. Due to his taboo-busting writing style he has also been called the James Joyce of Arabic literature. For a long time his work was only available digitally and was immediately banned upon publication in Jordan. In 2004, Blasim landed in Finland after years of drifting around as a refugee; he'd ended up in difficulties in Saddam Hussein's Iraq after shooting the film The Wounded Camera in the Kurdish north of the country. His work has been or is being translated into 20 languages. In March 2016 his first play premiered in a Helsinki theatre. The first Dutch translation of his work, the collection Lijkententoonstelling will appear during the festival.

(WU 2017)

Archive available for: Hassan Blasim

  • Winternachten 2017 – Door het Noordeinde: verhalen van achter de façades

    Through the Noordeinde: Omar Munie

    In 2006, a dream inspired Omar Munie to launch his line of bags, Omar Munie Clothing. The business has since grown into one of the best-known brands in the Netherlands. The Omar Munie Flagship Store opened on Rotterdam's Coolsingel in 2010, then moved to prestigious Noordeinde 43T in The Hague in 2013.

  • Winternachten 2017 – Saturday Night Unlimited

    IS: The Horror Show

    A late-night show about a daring subject: today's campaign of terror by the Islamic State within and outside the Arabic world. Iraqi-born writer Hassan Blasim - The Guardian called him "perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive" - reads from his short story collection The Corpse Exhibition (2014) in which he pictures daily life in contemporary Iraq not only by vivid, lurid and violent scenes but by showing the surreal, humoristic and enchanting sides of his characters. The collection is published in its Dutch language version titled Lijkententoonstelling during Winternachten Festival 2017.

    Journalist Hassnae Bouazza discusses the subject with Hassan Blasim, with highly esteemed political essayist Ian Buruma and with Dutch top writer Arnon Grunberg.

    How should one analyze staged and theatrically planned murderous acts? What is the relationship between IS's bombastic horror-pathos and the fascist European propaganda of the 1930s?

    Spoken Beat Night accompanies Hassan Blasim during the reading from The Corpse Exhibition

  • Winternachten 2017 – Friday Night Unlimited

    In the Mirror of Refugees

    The image that refugees have of Europe does not match the reality they experience upon arrival. Europe is a fiction. German-Azerbaijani writer Olga Grjasnowa wrote about the displaced in a globalized world; the Russian Michaïl Sjisjkin translated for asylumseekers in Vienna for years, which led to his novel Venus Hair; and novelist and filmmaker Hassan Blasim fled Irak and ended up turning his experiences into a book in Finland. Dutchman Tommy Wieringa delved into the motives of refugees for Dit zijn de namen (These Are the Names). What do they find in Europe? Moderator: Jeroen van Kan.